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A Merry Heart
A Woman's World
A Word in Season
Acting Up
As I Imitate Christ
Cyber Walk
Faith Seekers
Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Joy of Family
The Parents'
Survival Guide

The Rhythm of Life
The Treehouse
Through Their Eyes
'Tis the Season
We Are the Church
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Hope for the Hurting Mom
By Joyce Simoneaux

It seems that most articles or teachings about parents and children deal with younger children or teens and how to "train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6 KJV.) But what does a mother do when her children are already grown? Suppose her children are already being influenced by a culture of drugs … rejecting church … hanging with the wrong crowd … living with someone outside of marriage? What do you tell the mother who was never discipled in Christian principles or raised in a Christian family herself? She never learned how to raise her children in this manner. Is it too late?

These days, it seems it is almost the norm for a home to be dysfunctional and all too often abusive. More and more marriages are ending in divorce. More and more children are being raised in single-parent homes. Many single parents remarry without being taught how to choose another spouse according to scriptural principles; and the children are often rejected again by the step-parents. This, unfortunately, results in the children growing up bitter and alienated.

Now the mother surrenders her life to Christ, only to be riddled with guilt for not raising her children in a Christian home. What can she do? Is it too late to have a positive influence on her children?

There is always hope when Jesus is called upon. It is never too late to positively influence your children. Family counseling can bring about healing, but there is no substitute for the power found in God’s Word.

I think about this a lot because my life has been the classic scenario of all of these things. My grown children are following their own lead in life, and it does not glorify God. In my search for hope, I have found four good principles to follow that I believe will bring my children around to surrendering their lives to Jesus.

Let Go and Let God.

In my attempts to "right my wrongs," I often find myself nagging my children about going to church out of my fear that something will happen to them before they change. But instead of winning them over, I am just alienating them that much more. In being so consumed with getting my children in church, I have removed my focus from Jesus and centered it on my children.

I am learning to let go and trust the lives of my children to the Lord. He is certainly able to do a better job than I have done. I may even be getting in His way. A friend’s illustration of this likened it to turning a fire hose on your children with full force instead of just letting the water trickle on them gently. Our time together should just be a time of love and pleasant fellowship. Eventually, they might let down the walls they have built up around themselves and will be more open to God’s call on their lives.

Get Ready to Rumble.

The Holy Spirit has shown me that my battle is not with my children, nor is the guilt to be laid on my shoulders. I "wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12 KJV.) I am learning that my armor in the spirit (Ephesians 6:14) is my best defense against Satan and his cohorts when it comes to doing battle in the spirit realm for the lives of my children. As a mother, I must be a strong, untiring prayer warrior, constantly tearing down strongholds in their lives and surrounding them with the protection the Lord has provided for them in the spirit realm. I have already begun to see the fruits of my labor, but I know that the battle is far from over. In fact, it will never be over.

My mother, whose life was also the product of a dysfunctional and abusive home, was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. She became a Christian after I did and shares many of the same regrets I have where her children are concerned. She confided in me that she so much wants to see all of her children serving God. I assured her that, through a prayer group I am a member of, prayer and fasting is going on seven days a week for our family. Even if she doesn’t get to see the fruits of our prayers, she must never stop believing.

Pray the Word.

Another weapon of warfare shown to me is to pray the scriptures. There is something about, "It is written…" that gets Satan’s attention and God’s. The Word of God will not return void. An example of one scripture I stand on is Psalm 112 (NLT): "…Happy are those who fear the Lord! Yes, happy are those who delight in doing what He commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed…."

Study the Word and fashion prayers out of the scriptures that the Lord gives you specifically for your children. As a child of God, you have the ultimate weapon on your side – the Word of God with all of its promises.

Live as an Example.

Finally, I have learned to live as an example of Christianity. I strive daily to not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk. I do my utmost to live a life of honesty and integrity. I do the very best I can to let my children see me putting Jesus first in my life and diligently seeking Him for guidance in even the little things.

Am I 100 percent successful? No, because He is still working on me, too. I strive to practice mercy, as He has shown me mercy. I repent immediately when I feel I have entertained a wrong thought, spoken a wrong word, or acted in a wrong manner. Pride is no longer an issue; I am the first to turn the other cheek whether I am wrong or not. Christ’s love for me is unconditional, and I should show unconditional love to my children. Does this mean that I enable them in their wrong behavior? No, I don’t. However, I do my best not to judge them for it either. I am learning to encourage them, rather than condemn them.

I also take every opportunity I have to bring my grandchildren to church with me. I am so blessed by their enthusiasm to spend time with me and to go to their classes at church to learn about Jesus.

When my oldest granddaughter, Victoria, was four years old, she saw the trail of smoke left in the sky by a jet flying overhead. Her little face lit up with sheer excitement as she proclaimed, "Meme, it’s Jesus. He’s coming back for us!"

I was ready to fly away with her at that very moment, and though it wasn’t a life-changing moment for her mother, I did sense that she was moved by the importance of her daughter’s delight in and love for Jesus.

As each one of my grandchildren was born, I would always rock them to sleep singing two songs, "Jesus Name Above All Names" and "Jesus Loves Me." The oldest is now nine and the youngest is one, and when we are together, we all strike up a chorus, as we gleefully sing those two songs together. The joy on their faces as we sing "our songs" is a beautiful sight to behold.

There are hurting mothers all over the world today, who wonder if there is hope for the lives of their children who have taken the wrong path. You are not to blame. Don’t let the lies of Satan and his evil cohorts take away your hope any longer.

So you weren’t the ideal mother, and you didn’t do all the right things out of ignorance. So put those things behind you, and begin to focus on the Hope of the World – Jesus Christ. Stop looking to your past, and focus on an awesome future with Christ. Trust Jesus with the lives of your children, engage the enemy in spiritual battle for them, confess the scriptures daily over their lives, and live your life as in the open light of day for all to see your light so shining before the world and your children that they will want that same gift operating in their own lives. Above all, never stop believing in the promise. When you have done all you know to do, stand – steadfast and immovable.
Joyce Simoneaux is a newcomer to the world of writing and has only just begun to share her writing publicly. She draws from her life experiences and on what God has taught her through those experiences. Joyce lives on the Southern Gulf Coast in Sulphur, Louisiana. She is single with three grown children and five beautiful grandchildren. Her desire is to hear from God in all that she does, including her writing. You may write to Joyce care of the Letters page of this magazine.
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